The Gypsy's Caravan

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Last Throes

Jimmy Lohan:

Clearly, the "insurgency" conjured by Cheney's diabolical imagination is nowhere near defeat. Any semi-conscious observer can see that Bush-sponsored anti-Americanism is thriving and growing geometrically. For the last 6 months, this supposedly withering "insurgency" has been killing, on average, 3 American troops and wounding 18 every day. That equates to one of our guys getting killed and six wounded every eight hours. That's one dead and six wounded while we are at work, another dead and six more wounded while we are home from work eating dinner and watching television, and another dead and six more wounded while we are sleeping - every day. These deaths and maimings of American forces are occurring at a higher rate now than any other six-month period since the invasion of Iraq four years ago.

Go here for the rest - chock fill of snarky goodness!

It's a new day!

I don't know why, but I just feel so good today, and right this minute, it seems like anything's possible!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Snow Melt

Random Quotes

- Why is the United States of America using mercenaries to fight its wars in the Middle East? How did Blackwater and other "private security" firms rise to a position of seeming respectability and wealth? ~ Jeremy Scahill "Inside Blackwater, the world's most powerful mercenary army"

- Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, an outspoken critic of the US administration's handling of the war in Iraq, said the report showed the National Guard was being stretched "beyond the breaking point. This report serves as a clear indication of the damage we have done to the National Guard over the last four years," Hagel said in a statement.


Hmmm... Our army navy and marines at the breaking point. Our national guard now very close to being unable to respond.

And yet, Blackwater is ready, practiced, equiped, wealthy, powerful. Blackwater is also not responsible to the american people.

~ ~ Mercenaries ~ ~

Wealthy and powerful mercenaries in the employ of and beholden to the Bush Regime.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a little bit stinky??


The Bush administration came to power with the most radical privatization agenda in U.S. history, and we see it in our schools, we see it in prisons, we see it in healthcare, we see it in local law enforcement in the United States, federal law enforcement as well. And now with the so-called war on terror and the occupation of Iraq, we’ve seen the most militant privatization agenda sort of unfold before our eyes. Donald Rumsfeld, on September 10th, 2001, gave one of his first major addresses at the Pentagon, and he laid out a plan for a wholesale sort of overhaul of how the U.S. would wage its wars. And he talked about a small-footprint approach and the use of the private sector, and at one point Rumsfeld said because governments can’t die, we need to find other incentives for bureaucracy to adapt and improve. And of course this was one day before this sort of new Pearl Harbor moment happened on September 11th and all of a sudden Rumsfeld and Cheney get this blank canvas on which to paint their privatization dreams. And so what we’ve seen is as tanks rolled in, in March of 2003, to Iraq, they brought with them the largest army of private war contractors ever deployed. Now, as you say, there’s some 100,000 contractors—I actually think there are probably more than that. That’s a strangely round number. But the fact of the matter is that we know from internal government audits that were done on the Iraq occupation that there are some 48,000 employees of private mercenary companies operating in Iraq right now. And what these companies do is they give the Bush administration extraordinary political cover. Their deaths don’t get counted, their injuries don’t get counted, their crimes don’t get reported, they don’t get investigated, they don’t get prosecuted. The fact of the matter is that with 100,000-plus contractors in Iraq, there’s only been one indictment of a contractor for a crime or violation committed in Iraq. And that contractor wasn’t even a mercenary contractor. It was a private contractor doing support work for the U.S. military. So what we see is a sort of revolving door. The mercenaries provide the Bush administration with the ability to bloat the occupation forces—effectively double the number of occupation personnel on the ground—and then in turn the Bush administration has given them almost total free-for-all environment where there’s no accountability, there’s no oversight, there’s no effective laws governing their presence there. And it’s interesting that Blackwater USA and its executives are heavy funders of the campaigns of President Bush and his Republican allies, and that these are the very individuals that have essentially created a Wild West environment for these contractors in Iraq.

HATTIP: Truthdig's interview with the author of “Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”, Jeremy Scahill

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Waddya Mean?

We don't have the VOTES to shut off funding for this war?

*hattip: Crooked Timber via Digby

Tax cheat escapes $100 million repayment

WASHINGTON - Poorly written Justice Department documents cost the federal government more than $100 million in what was supposed to have been the crowning moment of the biggest tax prosecution ever.

Yep, it matters when the Justice Department is staffed by incompetents!

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he couldn't order Anderson to repay the federal government $100 million to $175 million because the Justice Department's binding plea agreement with Anderson listed the wrong statute.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Tom Turkey gettin' frisky for Spring

I saw this as I came around a corner, and had to stop and take a few pics! I'm assuming these are the same flock pictured here, since it's just across the street from where the previous pic was taken. I love how the cats are just sitting there on the steps watching that big tom dance and shake, taking in the show.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I just liked the colors in this one, and the moss looks
so delicate.

*as always, click on teh pic for a larger view

I Heart Bill Mahr today

You know, not to generalize, but the 29 percent of people who still support President Bush are the ones who love to pronounce themselves more patriotic than the rest of us. But just saying you're patriotic is like saying you have a big cock. If you have to say it, chances are it's not true. And indeed, the Party that flatters itself that they protect America better is the Party that has exhausted the military, left the ports wide open, and purposely outed a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. That's not treason anymore, outing a spy? Did I mention it was one of our spies?

...and did anyone mention she was in charge of tracking down nukes in the middle east?

*hattip: BlondeSense Liz

Friday, March 23, 2007


This is what happens when all the trees are cut down, and houses are put in. Water that used to go up the tree trunks ends up in the lowlands.

It can be wildly beautiful

In it's desolation.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mystery Quote

"Evidently, Mr. [president] wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

"Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

"One gets the impression that Team [president] values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. [president] will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold — the rule of law."

So, who do you think said it, and about who??

Update: here's a comment that I found in a thread over at Crooks and Liars...

Snow says they want to avoid a Perry Mason spectacle? In a Perry Mason spectacle the questioner (Mason, whose analogous role here = Congress) asks tough probing questions that ultimately reveal the identity of a guilty criminal.

So the role of the guilty criminal, in Snow's Mason analogy, would be... ?

Thank you, Your Honor. No more questions.
Bob in PA |

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More snow last night, Thawing this weekend

Tuesday sunrise over snowy fields

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday Snowfall

On friday the snow started when I was driving to work, and slowly, slowly got heavier and heavier. At around 9:30 am I looked at the weather report(getting heavier through the afternoon, with one inch per hour snowfall), and decided that the weekend was gonna start early: I so hate driving in slippery conditions, I left at noon.

This little bluebird didn't seem to notice the cold and snow.

Animal acrobatics: This one jumped straight up, then completed a half flip to land, with a spare flutter of wing, on the lower level

Plump black and white , slashing past the window in front of my lens. I go to look at the other feeder, and there was this little guy, enjoying the day.

And this one, who was contentedly scratching around in the snow under the feeder, picking up little frozen seeds. He hung out on the shelf, fluffing his feathers up and sheltering from the cutting wind in the recess below this shelf.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yep, We're Angry!

Check out Paul Waldeman's righteous article over at Tom Paine dot com.

Hattip: Jersey Cynic over at Blondsense.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Play Misty for me

*as always, click to enlarge

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What He Said...

Check out Chet Scoville's post over at The Vanity Press. They're throwing people off Medicaid!

Warmer Weather

The temp was around 50 yesterday, a break in the cold that was celebrated. I was driving by this river on my way home,(posted below all frozen) and just had to get some pics of the ice breaking up.

The day was warm, but near this river it was verrry chilly.

Here's one big raft of ice that got stuck. It got up to around 50 yesterday, is supposed to hit 54 today, and tomorrow - Wooo Hooo!- 61 and rain!

*click on the pics for a larger view

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Open Letter to GM

Dear Sir or Madam,

When the prime minister of Japan said that US workers were lazy, I vowed to never again buy a japanese product if an american product was available. I have fulfilled that vow all these years. Now I find I must review my convictions, and these are the reasons:

1. I supported American cars in order to support the American economy. Keep the dollars here, keep the good jobs. For, even as the minimum wage tends to prop up the standard of living from the bottom, the good union job bouys it up from the top.

American car companies are shutting down their factories, and shedding union jobs. Detroit is becoming a wasteland. Toyota, by contrast, is opening a brand spankin' new plant in TN this year.

2. The American economy for the last 50 years has been driven by technology. Your decision to embrace the military industrial complex of death instead of the hybrid market was pivotal in my decision to never again buy any of your products. That you embraced the gas guzzling SUV instead of the hybrid was a pragmatic decision. The Hummer however is the symbol of your overweening arrogance. The hummer is an obscene behemouth on the city streets. Every time I see one, I give it the finger, and meditate on how american car companies are killing our grandchildren by polluting the environment. Used as a symbol to militarize our civil society, it is nevertheless in a class that includes heavy machinery and is therefore available to be purchased by companies that don't have need of them and using our fed tax money (money that is being offered for heavy equipment that generates profit rather than just burning up three times the gas to go somewhere).

I lived in LA CA for almost 20 years, and breathed the brown soot that passed for air out there. Recently the people of CA passed a proposition tightening pollution laws in the state to be at the same level as China. American car manufacturers could have replied by selling proven technology, low polluting cars there. Instead they instigated a lawsuit to allow them to continue selling pollution belching cars there. Now the state of CA is defending the people's right to clean air with money that could be better spent solving the serious problems that are threatening our health and standard of living.

I've always wanted a Subaru Outback AWD. . . .


Friday, March 09, 2007

Deep Freeze

*click on the pic to enlarge

Bush's Troop Buildup

U.S. troop buildup in Iraq getting bigger

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

The total number of troops required for the plan, while still uncertain, is climbing. When Bush announced the boost of 21,500 combat troops, the Pentagon said still others would be required to go with them in support roles. Its initial estimate of 2,400 support troops has doubled and may go higher still.

The cost also is rising. Administration officials conferred with lawmakers this week about an extra $1 billion, on top of the original $5.6 billion. The actual cost depends on how long the troop reinforcement is sustained.

When asked about the duration of the buildup, Gates has noted that funds for this purpose are only budgeted through September, which marks the end of the government's budget year. This week, however, it was disclosed that Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, a top commander in Iraq, has recommended that the buildup stretch into 2008.

At a news conference Thursday, Gen. David Petraeus, who arrived in Baghdad in February as the top U.S. commander, hinted at a longer-term buildup. "You generally think that if you're going to achieve (the desired results), that it would need to be sustained certainly for some time well beyond summer," he said, adding that his subordinate commanders are looking at options well in advance of when decisions will have to be made.

To review:

*Bushco asked for 21,500 extra troops, at a cost of ONE Billion to flush down the toilet that is Iraq. His republic party cronies subsequently lost the election on the basis of his request (and his raging incompetence).

*The Decider sends the original 21,500, so his generals raised his bid by 2,400 support personnel.

Does he know or care that the public thinks he's insane???

*Why no, since he's seeing their raise and betting another 2,400 support personnel that he can keep the war going well into 2008. This will be costing the US Public another FIVE Billion Dollars.

*Meanwhile, Gen. David Petraeus saw that and raised the bid by around 2,200 more MP's to help with an anticipated increase in detainees and for other duties.

*That would put the total number of support troops at 7,000.

read the article here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Overload Indeed

We went to the annual flower and garden show the weekend before last. Nice break from the cold weather, as it was in the 50's and alot of the ice melted. We went to a seminar on how to grow Lady Slippers - the North American Orchid. I was gifted three of these pink recluses two years ago, and they said the plants will probably dwindle and die, as they really do not like to be transplanted. We'll have to see if they come up this spring. They showed slides of some very beautiful northern orchids, and I'll have to get some of those when it gets warmer. Can't wait!

Presidential Quotes

On Cuba:

"Now, I fully recognize that until people actually feel progress in their pocketbook, that there's going to be frustrations with forms of government," Bush said. "But that doesn't mean you kind of revert to something that I don't believe will work."

Mr Bush, since you've taken over the White House, not one thing that you've decided has actually done good in our country or our world. Why in all that's holy would you think that anyone - especially those not under your subjugation - would listen to any opinion of YOURS?

On Colombia:

_Bush stood by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who is dealing with a scandal involving ties between his political camp and brutal far-right militias.

Bush said Uribe has assured him that investigations and prosecutions will be full and fair.

"In my judgment, President Uribe has done a fabulous job for leading that country," Bush said.

Go here to read the rest of what Bushco thinks about South America.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007



Monday, March 05, 2007

Open Letter

Dear Rep Courtney, and Senator Dodd,

I am concerned by the more powerful members' of the Democratic Party stand on impeachment.

If we do not impeach, we can expect the same behavior Bush and Cheney have engaged in, and worse, from future administrations.

I personally am convinced that the reason Bush and Cheney's cabal have dared to do so much against our nation's security and best interests is that Nixon and his cronies got away with their transgressions. The only way to nip this illegal and imoral behavior in the bud is to use the full power of the law to stop them. If this is not done, and done immediately if not sooner, we will only have worse transgressions in future.

The republic: can we keep it? Will you do your sworn duty to uphold and defend it?

I certainly hope so.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Woods in Winter

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cost of Iraq

The Alternate Brain has a post detailing the current total Cost of the Iraq War

$404,636,964,425, that is more than 9 years gross income for Microsoft, for example.

Getting warm(er) and wet

It's raining today like Thor's hammer coming down. This is a shot of the boss's parking spot. *Heh heh*
Must be at least 2" of water.

This I hopped out of the car on the way home last night to get. Though these deer were at the opposite end of this field, and I could hardly see them even with a hefty 12x zoom (optical), they sussed me out and started moving away even as I was snapping frantically and trying to get them all in the frame.

*click on the pic for a full size view

Thursday, March 01, 2007


There's a kerfluffle brewing about the bloggers who have expressed regret that VP Cheney wasn't removed by the bomber who suicided at Bhagram AFB the other day. The fact that Malkin, Limbaug, and Hannity et al have turned their megaphones on in order to villify those anonomous bloggers has all the mainstream progressive bloggers with their panties in a twist, deleting comments and condeming those anon commentors.

I feel closer to the anonomous bloggers than anything else.

Consider: This man (VP Cheney) has done more than anyone else in the world to mess up and subvert the way our fed government works. This man has done more than anyone else in the world to wreak our national security, our economy, our culture of cooperation, our ecological system, and our armed forces. This man has done more harm than anyone else in the world to our standing in the world and our relations with allies and enemies.

Worse, he did it not for ideological reasons, but for filthy lucre, for himself and his cronies.

He has made the world a much much more dangerous place for each and every american, and for the next few hundred years, if we last that long.

If there were any justice, this man would be in the dock on charges of treason right now.

That he's not says more about the state of our democracy than anything.


Bush will be in New Orleans today. A Rebuke of Bush is planned at 2pm. Via Humid City is the statement of rebuke from Katrina Survivors....

(Near Freret and Napoleon)

New Orleans Needs Federal Aid, Not Presidential Photo-Ops.

Mr. President: Katrina Survivors Do Not Welcome You, We Rebuke You!

We live in a devastated city and you are a big part of the reason why it sill sits in ruins. Your administration has abandoned our children by savaging their public schools. Your administration has tortured our working class people by refusing to reopen the city’s public housing developments. And your administration is fully complicit in placing our uninsured in harms way by ruthlessly pursuing the privatization of local public healthcare in the aftermath of Katrina. And, finally your administration is guilty of sending our sons and daughters of to war for oil and empire just when we need them most to help us rebuild our community.

Mr. President, we, Katrina Survivors all, do not welcome you to our city, we rebuke you!

Sponsored by Survivors Village, United Front For Affordable Housing.

*hattip: Shakes' Sis

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